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We can end Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation: Let us rally around Goal 5 of the SDGs

9 February 2018
Whilst in Nigeria, the Envoy has been meeting with key actors in the youth development space.
Whilst in Nigeria, the Envoy has been meeting with key actors in the youth development space.

Abuja, Nigeria The UN Youth Envoy is visiting Africa in her first multi-nation mission, where she will be learning about the challenges and work young people are doing in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. Whilst in Nigeria from 8 – 10 February 2018, the Envoy has been meeting with key actors in the youth development space, including government representatives, civil society leaders and young innovators in different sectors.

A key thematic highlight of the mission has been the emerging issues and recommendations around sexual and reproductive health. The need for access to comprehensive sexuality education, services and ending harmful practices that significantly contribute to high maternal mortality and morbidity, such as fistula, in Africa were some the key recurring themes during the mission. It is on this backdrop that the Youth Envoy had a courtesy call on the Minister of Health, Hon. Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole to discuss the state of these issues in Nigeria, learn about the work the Ministry of Health was doing and explore where the Youth Envoy’s mandate can be leveraged.

The Minister congratulated Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake on her appointment to the position of United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. He expressed strong confidence in her tenure and wished her success in championing the youth development agenda. On her part, the youth envoy recognised the progress being made in Nigeria, drawing from experiences shared during her town-hall meeting with young people, noting the collaboration and partnerships with partners like UNFPA to ensure young people have access to comprehensive sexuality education and services.

Sharing the work the Ministry was doing to address high levels of child marriage and female genital mutilation, the Directors of Child and Women services noted that with the support of partners like UNFPA and UNICEF, they are working with communities to ensure care and protection services are available, legal frameworks to protect teenage and young girls are strengthened and the government is working to ensure there are financial allocations for activities and services for young girls and women.

The Youth Envoy will continue meeting with Government representatives and stakeholders and her mission in Africa will conclude in South Africa in the week ahead.